EU AGENDA FOR HIGHER EDUCATION

 

Mass production of uneducated college graduates is a result of the expansion of college education for all. Colleges exploit students and adjunct professors to serve a few tenured professors. Those who can’t do, teach. Colleges are frauds. Ivy league schools sold their souls to Islam with huge donations from Arab princes. Many administrators rob the funds, many professors trade grades for bribes and sex, and students dumb down!  Anyone who wants to learn anything can do it much better on the Internet, without retreating to fraudulent concentration camps, called campuses. Allons enfants de la Patrie! The college bubble is just about to burst. Kids are being sold on the claim that college degrees are simply a must for future employment but this nonsense has become an artifact of history.

MBA frameworks are a bunch of academic mumbo-jumbo with little applicability. There is a deliberate useless intellectualizing of business, foisted on America by elite business schools. Using self-developed pseudo-scientific jargon, DBA eggheads manage to repackage the most glaring examples of common sense and the obvious in so much math and psychology mumbo jumbo that the uninitiated are actually fooled into thinking that something profound is going on!  Those eggheads are frauds, pure and simple.

Since WWII, college has falsely been sold as the guarantee of better employment and higher salaries. But the costs outweigh the benefits. There are several problems with college today, not the least of which is its exorbitant costs. Kids are graduating sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, a debt many won’t be able to satisfy for decades. Some will never pay it all off. The result is that the costs are fast outweighing the benefits and it won’t be long before people just stop indulging this pointless waste of time and money and will just start to go right into the work force out of High School.

What role does the EU have in higher education?

To achieve this, the EU facilitates regular cooperation and the exchange of experiences and good practices between Member State authorities responsible for higher education (including through a dedicated working group) and provides funding to promote quality in higher education through its main education funding programme, Erasmus+. In particular, Erasmus+ supports cooperation projects involving higher education institutionsin different countries and provides grants for students and staff wishing to study, train or work abroad for a period of time.

What is the new agenda the Commission has adopted today?

The communication adopted today sets out the Commission’s perspective on how higher education needs to adapt to a changing world and help shape the Europe of the future. The renewed agenda identifies four main priority areas for action and proposes specific activities at EU level to complement work by higher education institutions and Member States authorities:

  1. Tackling future skills mismatches and promoting excellence in skills development;
  2. Building inclusive and connected higher education systems;
  3. Ensuring higher education institutions contribute to innovation;
  4. Supporting effective and efficient higher education systems.

How did the Commission decide on these priorities?

In drawing up the renewed agenda, the Commission took into account a wide-ranging public consultation on the future of EU cooperation in higher education, completed in 2016. The full results of the consultation are presented in the Staff Working Document accompanying the Commission’s over-arching skills strategy – A New Skills Agenda for Europe – adopted in June 2016.

Since completion of the public consultation, these broad priorities have also been discussed with representatives of national authorities and stakeholders in different settings.

Why is a new EU agenda needed?

The Commission adopted its Modernisation agenda for higher education in 2011. The ideas and objectives set out therein have fed into national policy-making, provided focus for EU cooperation in higher education and informed the design of the current generation of EU funding programmes, including Erasmus+.

However, higher education and the world in which it operates are changing rapidly. Technology is fundamentally changing the world of work in which tomorrow’s graduates will find themselves. It is also offering new opportunities for organising teaching and learning. The development of knowledge-based industries and growing higher education sectors in emerging countries such as China and India mean increased competition and call on Europe to be more innovative than ever. And, in a Europe where societies are becoming more polarised and science is increasingly challenged, higher education has to play its part in restoring trust in democratic life, institutions and the role of independent research.

All these broad challenges call for responses from higher education. The renewed EU agenda pinpoints promising approaches and sets out how the EU will support higher education institutions and Member States to respond.

In practical terms, what will the Commission actually do?

Under each of the four main priority areas, the Commission sets out specific actions it will take to support the achievement of the overall goals.

The actions are set out in the Communication and focus on:

  • Improving evidence on how higher education systems are performing and on policies and practices that work. Here, one example is the proposal to work with Member States to improve information on what former students go on to do after university through better graduate tracking.
  • Supporting cooperation and mutual learning between governments, for instance through the proposed reviews of funding and incentive structures in higher education systems and ‘peer counselling’ in the area of funding.
  • Supporting cooperation between higher education institutions to promote effective teaching, innovation activities and institutional management. These actions will be delivered through Erasmus+ cooperation projects, such as Strategic Partnerships.
  • Creating more and better opportunities for individuals to improve their skills through study, training and work abroad. The renewed agenda includes actions that will create more work placements for students as well as enhance the opportunities for teaching staff to develop their pedagogical skills abroad.

Why is the Commission proposing a specific initiative on graduate tracking?

Along with the renewed agenda on higher education, the Commission has also adopted a proposal for a Council Recommendation on tracking graduates. The objective of this Recommendation is to encourage and support Member State authorities to improve the quality and availability of information on what graduates go on to do after leaving higher education or vocational education and training.

Information on the jobs graduates do, the length of time it took them to find work, the skills they use and the skills they need is crucially important for prospective students who are deciding what to study, as well as for teachers developing and delivering education and training programmes and policy-makers steering education and training systems. The draft Recommendation calls on Member States to develop national tracking systems, using administrative data and graduate surveys and to cooperate to make data from different EU countries easier to compare.

Do graduates have the right skills?

There is no systematic testing of graduates either from university or vocational programmes that would make it possible to compare what they know or can do. Overall, tertiary graduates are more likely to be employed and earn more than those with lower levels of educational attainment. Furthermore, those with vocational diplomas at the upper-secondary level are also relatively likely to be employed. The likelihood is often at a comparable level or just slightly below to that of tertiary graduates; and substantially higher than of those with upper-secondary diplomas with a general orientation or those without an upper-secondary qualification.

However, analysis of vacancies across the EU has revealed skills shortages in many countries in high-skilled occupations including ICT, science, technology, engineering and maths, medicine, nursing and teaching. Nevertheles, the picture varies significantly from region to region. At the same time, surveys of employers and students[1] reveal concerns about the match between what students learn and the skills they need for work and life. The development of technology and changes in the profile of many occupations are likely to increase further the need for many transversal skills like critical thinking, problem-solving and communication.

What can be done to enhance skills development in higher education?

Good course design, learning environments and teaching are all important for effective skills acquisition in higher education. While there are no one-size-fits-all approaches to any of these areas, the renewed EU agenda stresses the importance of focusing consistently on what students will learn (the learning outcomes that will be achieved), drawing as much as possible on real-world situations and problems, encouraging critical assessment and thinking in individual and group work and embedding work-based learning and mobility opportunities into curricula. The agenda proposes EU-level actions to:

  • Support teaching staff develop their teaching skills through training periods abroad;
  • Develop and test innovative curriculum design; and
  • Allow more students to benefit from work placements abroad.

What can be done to help higher education contribute more to innovation?

Innovation is a term used to refer to the development of new products, services and processes in commercial businesses, public service organisations and the non-profit sector. A new commercial product, a new medical technique or a new approach to consulting citizens on urban development proposals are all forms of innovation.

Skilled, creative people, knowledge and new ideas are all important factors in innovation and are all resources found in abundance in higher education institutions. However, translating ideas and enthusiasm into innovation is not straightforward or predictable. This is why innovation policy involving universities increasingly focuses on creating environments that foster creativity and innovation. This includes encouraging students, researchers and staff to be creative and entrepreneurial, promoting cooperation between different disciplines and creating networks of people working inside and outside higher education.

Essay mills seduce gullible desperate students with a rubbish product. Responsibility for that lies with college practice and government policy. Fierce competition between colleges for customers has led to the admission of some students who struggle to write a postcard, never mind an essay. They plagiarize, copy and paste, as many have been taught to do at secondary schools obsessed with their positions in league tables.

Ultimately, students may feel less ripped off by essay mills than by colleges. Prospectuses promise a collegial atmosphere, an unforgettable student experience and unrivaled preparation for a rewarding career. In reality, college managers are running a no-frills, bums-on-seats business with costs pared to the bone and tight control imposed on academics by performance measures. Student satisfaction is purchased with lax academic standards: Eighty per cent of undergraduates can now expect to graduate with excellent grades.  They bribed their professors with excellent evaluations of their teaching methods!

Essay mills provide extensive interaction with writers, turning the construction of essays into the kind of social exercise with which modern students are comfortable. Their existence is nothing more than an indicator of the rot in colleges. Eliminating them, even were this possible, would do nothing to address the basic problems: that neither students nor colleges are much concerned with learning, and that the government either has not noticed or does not care.

Colleges now are not education centers, but mating and entertainment centers. Then there are the useless degrees, pure toilet paper, many kids are being fooled into achieving, packed with class work that is utterly meaningless to life or business. Classes such as black heritage, minority studies, and gay studies, these pseudo-degrees aren’t worth the sheepskins upon which they are printed. With these troubles on the horizon, employers are fast dropping requirements for degrees for all positions.

More than half of all recent college graduates are working in jobs that do not even require a college degree. Most Americans with a bachelor’s degree under the age of 25 are either unemployed or underemployed. Most college graduates have not been able to find a job in their chosen field. In the United States today, approximately half million cashiers, half million waiters, and more than 200,000 janitors have college degrees. Only half of all law school graduates are able to find a full-time job that requires a law degree.

Parents, taxpayers, and donors have little idea of the levels of lunacy, evil and lawlessness that have become features of many of today’s institutions of higher learning. Parents, taxpayers and donors who ignore or are too lazy to find out what goes on in the name of higher education are nearly as complicit as the professors and administrators who promote or sanction the lunacy, evil, and lawlessness.

Today’s academic climate might be described as a mixture of infantilism, kindergarten, and totalitarianism. The radicals, draft dodgers and hippies of the 1960s who are now college administrators and professors are responsible for today’s academic climate. The infantilism should not be tolerated, but more important for the future of any nation are the totalitarianism and the nonsense being taught at many colleges.

Citizens should rise up against this totalitarian trend on college campuses. The most effective way to do so is to hit these campus tyrants where it hurts the most — in the pocketbook. Lawmakers should slash budgets, and donors should keep their money in their pockets.

There was a time when campus life meant dorm parties, Frisbees on the lawn and entering a world of ideas. Today’s campus, however, is a joyless, politically correct gulag where students are taught to confess their crimes of privilege and inform on fellow students.

Free speech died first on campus when the great works of literature were censored because they could be offensive, when comedians began to fear to visit because they might offend someone and when students became afraid to discuss ideas, dress up for a party or even tell a joke. Now, today’s students know that Bias Response Teams on hundreds of campuses are encouraging students to inform on each other. That a casual remark or humorous tweet could cost them their future.

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